Florida has 282,435 confirmed cases of COVID-19, after a one-day gain of 12,624. The only nations with more cases are the United States, Brazil, Russia, India, Peru, Chile, Mexico and the United Kingdom. Florida’s number will top the United Kingdom’s figure soon, and it puts Florida ahead of former global hot spots Italy and Spain, where cases exploded in March and deaths soared relentlessly. However, Florida’s coronavirus death count of 4,277, after adding 35, is well behind these nations. That raises the question of how high deaths will go in America’s third-largest state by population.
Florida’s figure moved ahead of Italy and Spain quickly, because of both its huge confirmed case count increase and the very low counts in these two nations as the growth rate of the disease has nearly flattened. However, Italy’s fatal cases stand at 34,954, up by nine. Spain’s figure increased by three to 28,406. At the current daily increase rate in Florida, it will never come close to the two nations, based on their totals.
Why will Florida’s death count remain low compared to nations that have been overrun by the disease? There are several reasons.
The first is better care. Florida’s hospitals are some of the best in the country, and doctors there have developed better ways to keep patients alive. These include new therapies as simple as turning patients onto their stomachs to increase the flow of oxygen. Florida’s intensive care units have not begun to overflow completely, although some are close. That means people get care relatively early. Similar hospital units in Spain and Italy ran out of beds swiftly.
Another reason Florida’s death count will not reach that of Italy and Spain is the age of people who have become infected. This has been low in Florida so far. In Italy, 85% of those who died were over 70. Italy has the oldest population in Europe. That, by itself, drove up the number of deaths there quickly.
The United States can be counted as fortunate, at least in terms of current death rates. Most of the fatalities in the country happened early, particularly in New York State. The number of COVID-19 deaths there is up to 32,350, or 43 more than yesterday. The horrible number is primarily from New York City, where nursing homes with older people were savaged. People in the city live in close proximity. New York City covers 303 square miles, while Florida’s comparable figure is 65,775.
Florida’s confirmed case count may rise by over 10,000 a day in the future. However, at current rates, total deaths across the state may never reach that number.